Earlier in the summer, President Barack Obama announced his proposed Iran nuclear deal whose goal is to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This deal is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Essentially, the JCPOA blocks Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons and puts in place vigorous and intrusive transparency measures necessary to verify that Iran is not able to pursue a weapon. The deal prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon from several angles including:
- Increasing the time it would take Iran to acquire enough material for 1 bomb from 2-3 months to at least a year
- Reducing Iran’s stockpiles of enriched uranium
- Reducing the number of Iran’s centrifuges
- Preventing Iran from producing weapons-grade plutonium
- Tracking Iran’s nuclear activities with robust transparency and inspections
The robust and intrusive transparency measures that the deal puts in place includes 24/7 monitoring of all of Iran’s key nuclear facilities, including covert ones. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be able to track Iran’s uranium as it is mined, milled, turned into gas, and eventually into waste. The IAEA will also monitor the production of key centrifuge components to ensure that none are delivered to a covert program.
In exchange, Iran will receive relief from the sanctions put in place by the United States and the UN Security Council. This relief will come gradually as Iran must complete key steps before the sanctions can be lifted. The JCPOA ensures that the sanctions can immediately be put back in to place should Iran violate the deal.
The JCPOA is a comprehensive and detailed plan that targets Iran’s nuclear program from the production of fissile materials to weaponization. The continuous monitoring and regular access ensures that if Iran tries to develop a secret facility, the IAEA will know about it and shut it down.
The deal has been met with support at well as criticism. However, it will be up to Congress to determine whether the deal will be implemented. For more information on the details of the agreement, visit the White House’s page “The Iran Nuclear Deal: What You Need to Know About the JCPOA.”
Rachel is an Intern with the firm and is not a practicing attorney.